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Political Analytics Students Meet with Political Data Firms in DC

By Saxon Stahl, M.S. in Political Analytics Student, School of Professional Studies

Earlier this year, my cohort at the M.S. in Political Analytics program at Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS) was offered the opportunity to personally meet representatives from political data firms in their offices in Washington, DC.

During our trip, my Political Analytics classmates and I met experts from the Service Employees International Union, Impact Research, National Media, and OpenLabs, all of which play a central role in important ongoing campaigns across the United States.

Sitting down with key players at these organizations helped us understand the impact of big data on various political endeavors, especially when it comes to electoral campaigns.

We were given insights into how these organizations conduct research to provide their clients with the information they need to make critical decisions in the intensely competitive atmosphere of the current electoral cycle. These included targeting districts for polling and media advertisements, as well as mobilizing residents to vote through canvassing efforts. We also discussed topics such as coalition organizing with data, polling analysis and strategy research, and paid media outreach.

This was a wonderful experience as we were able to interact as a cohort with professionals in the analytics space and get a better sense of the demand for the kind of skills we are acquiring through the program's curriculum. It was great to connect not only with professionals but also with each other as we learned about emerging research in areas that are so fundamental to the process of our democracy.

This trip is one of the many activities in the Political Analytics program that prepare students with the foundational blocks for professional success. I strongly encourage those interested in the field of political analytics to apply so you can take advantage of opportunities offered by the program such as this one.

About the Political Analytics Program

The Columbia University M.S. in Political Analytics program provides students quantitative skills in an explicitly political context, facilitating crosswalk with nontechnical professionals and decision-makers—and empowers students to become decision-makers themselves. The final application deadline is June 1, 2024. The 36-point credit program is available part-time and full-time.